NSC Spokesman John Kirby Claims Without Evidence the Military Can't Recruit or Retain Women Without Free Abortion

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby launched into a lengthy diatribe Tuesday directly equating the ability of military servicewomen and female family members to combat readiness, attracting recruits, and retaining talent.


What brought on his monologue was Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville holding up promotions and reassignments of some three-and-four-star generals because Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has elected to defy federal law and pay for abortions to servicemembers and dependents in states that value a baby’s life.

READ the whole Tuberville vs. DOD Saga:

While progressives and the Biden White House are trying to portray this as Tuberville stopping military promotions, that is a lie. The Senate can confirm the promotions of as many Biden generals as they think the nation can stand; all they have to do is…wait for it…vote. Tuberville is objecting to motions to confirm these officers by “unanimous consent.” This means Chuck Schumer’s Senate would have to do its job and schedule hearings and votes. But that’s a lot like work, so they are swamping Tuberville with ridiculous personal attacks.


Q    Thank you, Karine.  The administration has been critical of Senator Tuberville with his holds on military promotions because of social policy and saying that he is harming military readiness.  On the flipside of that impasse — and this is something that Republican lawmakers have raised — why is the new DOD policy on abortion critical to military readiness?

MR. KIRBY:  I’m really glad you asked that question.

Q    (Inaudible.)  (Laughs.)

MR. KIRBY:  No, I mean, I really am.

One in five members of the U.S. military are women.  Twenty percent.  We’re an all-volunteer force.  Nobody is forcing you to sign up and go.  People volunteer to go.  You raise your right hand and you say, “I’m going to — I’m going to do this for a few years or even for my life, and it might cost me my life to do it.”

And when you sign up and you make that contract, you have every right to expect that the organization — in this case, the military — is going to take care of you, and they’re going to take care of your families, and they’re going to make sure that you can serve with dignity and respect no matter who you are or who you love or how you worship or don’t.

And — and our policies — whether they’re diversity, inclusion, and equity; or whether they’re about transgender individuals who qualify physically and mentally to serve to be able to do it with dignity; or whether it’s about female servicemembers — one in five — or female family members being able to count on the kinds of healthcare and reproductive care specifically that they need to serve — that is a foundational, sacred obligation of military leaders across the river.

I’ve seen it myself.  And it matters, because it says we’re invested in you because you are being willing to invest in us.  You’re investing your life, your family’s livelihood with us.  We owe you ba- — that back in return.

I had a chance a couple of weeks ago to meet with some military spouses here at the White House.  Some were active-duty members.  Some were spouses.  All were women.  And to a one, they told me that abortion laws in this country that are now being passed are absolutely having an effect on their willingness to continue serving in uniform or to encourage — or discourage, in this case — their spouses from continuing service.

So, if you don’t think there’s going to be a retention and a morale issue, think again.  Because it’s already having that effect.

I have a — a son in the Navy — I think you all know that — and son-in-law, too.  They’re both stationed down in Norfolk on destroyers.  You know, they’re proud to keep serving their country in the Navy.   But, you know, the Navy told them where to go.  They go — you go where you’re told.  That’s the way orders work.  You go where you’re assigned; you don’t get to choose.

And so, what happens if you get assigned to a state like Alabama, which has a pretty restrictive abortion law in place, and you’re concerned about your reproductive care?  What do you do?  Do you say “no” and get out?  Well, some people may decide to do that.  And what does that mean?  That means we lose talent — important talent.

And we’re, again, an all-volunteer force.  Recruiting is tough enough as it is with a very strong economy out there.  We want to keep the people that we get, and we want to — we want to make sure that they can continue to serve.

So, it has — it can have an extremely, extremely significant impact on our recruiting and retention.  Not to mention, it’s just the right darn thing to do for people that raise their hand and agree to serve in the — in the military.


Charitably, what Kirby is tossing around is horsesh**.

There is no empirical evidence that women are either refusing to enlist or to marry men in the military because they just know they are going to need an abortion one day.

The only reason I can think of for DOD to support a policy at odds with medical science is that they want to inure women to the thought of killing children. Quite honestly, I think there are enough psychopaths in the world without enlisting women who wouldn’t join if they couldn’t have an abortion on demand.

If someone is stationed in Alabama, I’m picking on Alabama only because Kirby did, and you or your spouse just have to have an abortion in a situation that doesn’t meet the requirements of “life-threatening” under Alabama law; nothing stops you from hopping in your car and driving someplace where killing your kid is legally protected. Just ask for leave. It really isn’t hard.

Tuberville is doing the right thing. He’s trying to make Austin comply with federal law. If Austin disagrees with that, he needs to make his case to Congress that the military can’t function without abortion. If Schumer and Senate Democrats disagree, the solution is really simple. Vote on the nominations.


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